Beaches all over the San Francisco Bay area are covered in a layer of oil sludge after a South Korean tanker ship hit the Bay Bridge during a period of dense fog and spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker oil.
The strong tides in the area have swept the oil far from the site of the accident, dirtying beaches as far as 20 miles north of the city. Alcatraz Island, home of the famous prison, is encircled with a ring of oil sludge. Several beaches were forced to close by the spill.
Some wildlife has been affected by the spill as well. Lt. Rob Roberts of the California Department of Fish and Game said that 26 oil-covered shorebirds were found, and that 6 of those were dead. Bunker oil is one of the closest petroleum products to crude oil. Yellow booms were put in place by the Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Game to protect some beaches from the oil.
The ship that hit the bridge was the Cosco Busan, owned by South Korean shipping company Hanjin Shipping. The ship hit a stanchion on the western area of the bridge, tearing off a protective fender nearly 10 feet wide and 3 feet thick.
Wil Bruhns, of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, said that he could not comment on the case but that earlier accidents had resulted in prosecutions. Bruhns said: “Lots of ships go around the bay and it’s really rare the bridges get hit, even in fog. There is radar.”
Source: New York Times
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